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Girls, Adolescents and Youth: Heard. Involved. Engaged.

By: Cecilia Garcia Ruiz, Espolea and Sumaya Saluja, Global Education First Initiative 

The 3rd PMNCH Partners' Forum is over, yet the commitments that have been made prevail. Young people present at the forum were critical, active, and brought attention to key issues affecting adolescents and youth around the world. During the youth pre-meeting, we worked collectively to shape an outcome document, which clearly outlines specific priorities for adolescents and young people in the definition of the post-2015 agenda. During the two days that followed, we advocated to leverage political commitment and accountability.

Investing in adolescents and youth as agents of change pays. Investing in these populations ensures we will be able to reach other young people and provide a better future for the generations to come. Turning the tide on poverty, violence, discrimination and inequality requires young people to be heard, involved and engaged.

Read more...

Young People: Our Present and Our Future

By: Katja Iversen, Women Deliver

Nelson Mandela once said: "Whenever I am with young people, I feel like a recharged battery." I couldn't agree more, after having spent the last couple of days with a good bunch of the Women Deliver Young Leaders at the Partnership on Maternal, Child and Newborn Health (PMNCH) Partners' Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa.

When young people tell me what motivated them to advocate for girls' and women's health and rights, their stories are at once heartbreaking and inspiring. For Yemurai Nyoni in Zimbabwe, it was a 12-year-old girl named Tecla who was sold into marriage and contracted HIV. For Mary Mwende in Kenya, it was the violence of male-dominated politics that she witnessed as a child in the slums of Mombasa. When faced with injustice, these young leaders took action to improve the world around them -- and their stories, in turn, inspire others. Read more...

It’s All Possible: We Have the Solution in Our Hands!

By: Martin E. Wanzala, Uganda

As deliberations on the post-2015 development agenda at the 3rd PMNCH Partners’ Forum here in Johannesburg, South Africa gain momentum, it is a great opportunity for young people to ensure that their voices are heard when and where it matters most.

The post-2015 development discussion is one of the most important debates of our time. The global framework that world leaders agree upon in 2015 will guide all future government policies and spending on social and economic development in both developed and developing countries. Read more...

Let’s Go Deeper into Remote Areas for the Post-2015 Development Goals

By: Mary Mwende, Kenya

The first day of the PMNCH Partners’ Forum was an exciting one. I have listened to all of the sessions with keen interest. The forum is a fountain of knowledge and information, with every sentiment converging at the same point. The unity of thought clamors for one common goal - to create a better and healthier world for mothers and newborns around the world, particularly for those who are most vulnerable and impoverished.

I agree with all of this and hope it will be achieved.

As we discussed during the youth pre-forum yesterday, there is a lot left to achieve when it comes to Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. More young people have to be meaningfully involved to continue making progress. A drive to create change among youth must be led by the young! Regrettably, the most afflicted youth - particularly girls - are seldom involved in these conversations. Read more...

Young People Engage in a New Challenge – Everybody Counts

By: Gonzalo Nicolas Infante Grandon, Chile

It was with great momentum that the PMNCH Partner’s Forum began yesterday in Johannesburg, kicking off with a Youth Pre-Forum and NGO constituency meetings.  This year, unlike other years, young people are part of the discussions and contributions fostered by the forum.

With 500 days left to reach the targets set by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), we must go further - with more decisiveness, more strength, and more passion – to accelerate progress in this last push and achieve a better future. Beyond the act of deliberating upcoming policies, we must evaluate the strategies and practices that have already been implemented. We must deepen our understanding and rectify our errors. As we do this, it is worth asking: How have young people been involved? Has it has been enough? Read more...

Be seen! Be heard! Youth at the 3rd PMNCH Partners’ Forum

By: Yemurai Nyoni and Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver

This 3rd PMNCH Partners’ Forum is the first large-scale involvement of young people to date. Out of the approximately 1000 participants here in Johannesburg, nearly 10% are youth representatives under 30. This is a great start, and a clear opportunity to increase meaningful youth engagement in the forum and others like it. Will PMNCH consider including a youth constituency to its other seven constituencies while mainstreaming youth within and throughout? We really hope so.

Partners’ Forum representatives come together from governments, civil society, development agencies, private sector, and the media to deliberate on how best to accelerate progress for women, children and adolescents in the context of RMNCH. Youth representatives are uniquely positioned to put our issues front and center, and to magnify our contributions to advancing maternal and newborn health. Read more...

Closing the Gap; Millennium Development Goals 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

By: Victoria Melhado, Women Deliver 100 Young Leader; Originally posted on Impatient Optimists and Frontline Health Workers

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
-Margaret Mead

Today, I say proudly that nurses are changing the world. In 2000, the United Nations adopted the Millennium Declaration, which laid out the framework for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The eight MDGs take a holistic approach to poverty reduction, covering education, gender equality, health, environmental sustainability and the need for a global partnership to facilitate the realization of these goals. Read more...

Women Deliver ‘Young Leader’ Wins Prestigious Journalism Award

John Muchangi Njiru, a young journalist from Kenya and one of Women Deliver’s “100 Young Leaders” from 2010 was recently presented with the HIV/AIDS Reporting Award at the 2012 CNN African Journalist Awards. Read more...

Women, Adolescents, and Young People are Critical for Sustainable Development

By: Adeolu Ogunrombi, one of the Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders
Originally posted on Adeolu’s blog

nigeria.JPGThe truth that adolescent girls occupy the lowest rank in the hierarchy of gender power relationships and its effect on their holistic development is an issue of utmost importance and urgency. My mind went down memory lane and remembered an experience I had some years back while working with a health facility supported by the World Bank to provide care and treatment on HIV/AIDS in one of the North Central states, very close to Abuja the Federal Capital of Nigeria.

There was a time we noticed in the HIV counseling and testing unit that so many of our clients coming from a particular village within the suburb were testing positive for HIV. The incidence became of concern to me and my colleagues and we were curious to know why this was happening in a village that has little or no social infrastructure. Read more...

World Contraception Day: The Importance of Educating Young Women

Get Involved: Add Your Own Perspectives At The Conversations For A Better World Blog Series

By: Saba Ismail, one of the Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders and program manager of the “Sahailee Hotline”

In Pakistan, talking about sexual and reproductive health, sexuality and contraception is considered taboo. The truth is, Pakistan is a conservative country and the people here have feudal norms and culture. Young people cannot talk about contraception nor discuss it with their friends – when they do, they are considered vulgar. They’re not allowed to ask questions about topics like contraception because their use is considered a sin, and some doctors won’t give their patients permission to use contraception because they consider it anti-Islamic. According many people’s religious beliefs, women shouldn’t use contraception because children are “a gift from God” and we should not reject such a precious gift. The only way doctors recommend that husbands and wives stop having children is by avoiding intercourse altogether – they make no mention of modern contraception. People here believe that if someone does not want to produce children, they should just avoid intercourse. Read more...

World Contraception Day: “Hombres y mujeres jóvenes y el acceso a anticonceptivos”?

Get Involved: Add Your Own Perspectives At The Conversations For A Better World Blog Series

Yunuen_Flores_Blog_Pic.jpg

What Is The Difference Between How Young Women And Men Learn About And Access Birth Control Methods? And Why?

By: Yunuén Flores, Director of the Gender Program

I’m a young female activist and even more importantly, I live in a Latin American country: Mexico. I come from a culture that is patriarchal, machista, religious and full of taboos. Ah, and I already told you that I’m a woman! So I have lived my life with different rules than the men in my community, typecast by social norms that we ourselves have created. Read more...

Young People and Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Nigeria: Youth e-consultation

By: Esther Agbarakwe & Kikelomo Taiwo, Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders; posted on the WRA blog here

Globally between 350,000 and 550,000 girls and women die from complications due to pregnancy and childbirth every year, while 10-20 million girls and women suffer from maternal morbidities according to UNFPA. Each death represents a family’s loss of a sister, daughter, partner, mother, or friend. Early sexual exposure is an important reproductive risk factor among young people in Nigeria as many of them lack information and life planning skills to delay the onset of sexual activities. Read more...

Celebrating International Women’s Day & Improving Maternal Health in Nigeria

By: Esther Agbarakwe, one of the Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders from Nigeria

Esther-dinner.gifLast week I had the rare opportunity of co-hosting a dinner to celebrate women as part of the Global Dinner Party to celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. The dinner was organized by the Nigeria Health Campaign of the White Ribbon Alliance in Nigeria in partnership with Save the Children Nigeria. Our focus was to enlighten the media about commitments made by Nigeria's government in support of the UN Secretary General's Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health. Read more...

Youth Advocates: 10 Ways to Take Action Right Now

With only a few days left until the New Year, it’s easy to feel like 2010 is already over. But it’s not too late to do something this month! Read our recap of the Top 10 Maternal Health Highlights in 2010 to celebrate all the hard work and successes of the year. Then, click through to check out some opportunities to keep your momentum going.

10 Ways to Get Involved and Take Action for Youth

It’s been five months since the Women Deliver 2010 conference where the world put a spotlight on maternal health and the approximately 350,000 women who die from complications due to pregnancy and childbirth every year. We need to keep that energy going! Need some inspiration and some ideas? Read on for 10 actions and opportunities you can take right now:

A Silent Phenomenon Spreads HIV

By: Robert Mukondiwa, one of the Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders, and journalist in Zimbabwe, originally posted at Conversations for a Better World

Young sex workers in rural Zimbabwe have embarked on a fatal path that increases their likelihood of contracting and spreading HIV. Poverty and a lack of information intensify the problem, but instead of embracing the challenge with effective solutions, many are turning away in denial... Read more of Robert's story and join the conversation.

Stigma and Discrimination Surrounding HIV/AIDS

By: Angella Musiimenta, one of the Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders, from Uganda; orginally posted at Conversations for a Better World

A young woman in Uganda contracts HIV/AIDS and faces relentless prejudice that alters every aspect of her life. She is only one of the millions of young people whose physical challenges are multiplied by the cruelties of social discrimination. Read Angella's blog and discuss how stigma affects young women.

Integration of Migration – Embracing the Newcomers

By: Emily Akullu, one of Women Deliver's 100 Young Leaders and Deputy Resident District Commissioner from Uganda; originally posted at Conversations for a Better World

Ongoing migration is a reality. The goal is not to end migration, but to value, respect and integrate the people who leave their homes in search of resources and safety. Read more... and discuss how migration affects girls and women, especially pregnant girls and women.

Many Hands: How to Reach HIV Positive Youth

By: Diana Sera, one of Women Deliver's 100 Young Leaders and Monitoring & Evaluation Manager of Northern Uganda Malaria AIDS & Tuberculosis Program (NUMAT). Originally posted at Conversations for a Better World.

HIV positive youth encounter profound and varied challenges. We say we want to help, yet we continually let them down when we don’t provide the services they need. It’s a growing problem without a single solution. NUMAT is one of many organizations that is serving the underserved through a layered approach that supports, nurtures and strengthens the youth whose lives have been redefined by HIV.

Ten years ago, I took an HIV test. I was motivated to take the test because I lost my closest relative to HIV. Knowing my own HIV status has empowered me to make informed decisions about my life and to reach out to my family and peers to encourage them to get tested early too. While at school, some of my peers were HIV positive and faced a number of challenges, including stigma and discrimination, and many didn’t know how to find youth-friendly HIV services. All of the above inspired me to join an organization that aims to fulfill the needs of HIV positive youth. Read more...

 

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